What The Hell Chia Seeds Are, And Why They're Great for You

Photo by Dominique Boubion
These are magical

At some point in your life, some one has probably asked: If you were stuck on an island and you only had one thing to eat, what would it be? I'm betting you answered something like "Mom's spaghetti," or the obvious choice, pizza. I always went with cheeseburgers, but that's beside the point because it turns out that all of those answers are wrong. There is a correct response. Chia seeds.

What are chia seeds, anyway? They've started to show up everywhere from Brazilian fruit bowls to grocery store yogurt. They should should be good for you, right? Well, let's break this down. If you're on an island, you will need a food that will sustain you for a long time, is very nutritious, can be stored without maintenance and expiration, and will curb your appetite. And ta-da - you have chia seeds. They don't call it a miracle food for nothing.

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Paleo's Near Perfect, But It's Got Some Pains

Categories: Dietary Diary

Photo by Dominique Boubion
A perfectly paleo breakfast. Not pictured: four slices of pizza.

I'm not going to lie: my first meal after my official last day of eating paleo was four slices of pizza. Not two, or three. But four. And I ate the heck out every last bite. I experienced gluten euphoria and asked myself why things that are bad are so good.

Then I paid the price.

Try going three weeks without consuming dairy or gluten, then eat pizza. Your bowels will protest. They will throw down the iron curtain. Close the George Washington Bridge at Fort Lee. Remember when Atlanta got two inches of snowfall? It'll be like that.

After three weeks on the paleo diet, my body has adjusted to the dairy- and gluten-free life and apparently forgotten how to digest pizza, so it's probably a good time to talk about poop and the paleo diet.

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Making Paleo So You Don't Go Broke Eating Paleo

Categories: Dietary Diary

Photo by Dominique Boubion

One of the principles of the Paleo diet that I set aside last week is to avoid processed foods. Why did I set it aside? Because when you're grocery shopping, avoiding processed foods is an odyssey. Grocery stores put all of the best, paleo-unfrendliest foods at the front of their stores, right next to the check out lines. Albertson's stocks freshly baked bread, which they sell for only 5 quarters, right at the very front. Are they trying to make a profit, or sabotage me?

But now that I've got the hang of eating meals without grains or snacking on processed foods, I can work on making my own foods from scratch. A good rule of thumb is if it is not made of natural ingredients, or if there is added sugar, don't eat it. This can get expensive sometimes.

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Paleo Pickings, The Diet That Doesn't Make Me Want to Die

Categories: Dietary Diary

Photo by Dominique Boubion
Cavemen ate pancakes all the time

If there's any fad diet that's the opposite of raw vegan, it's paleo, a diet tailored around the idea that our bodies have not evolved to properly digest grains, a product of the agricultural revolution so recent in our evolutionary history. In the interest of balance, for the next three weeks my goal is to eat only what a caveman would eat -- you know, things like cauliflower pizza and gluten-free banana pancakes. Things a cavemen could totally make if they had access to an oven and a health food store.

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Leaving Raw Vegan Behind

Categories: Dietary Diary

Dominique Boubion
Wrapping it up

I started a raw food diet because I wanted to know if I would "get the glow" and whether or not it was a feasible way of living.

It is tricky territory to say whether I think that eating in a specific manner is bad or good, because the principles of eating well are present in the diet and can get muddled in the debate. Sure, eating raw vegan may be healthy, but so is eating more fruit and vegetables, no matter temperature they're cooked to.

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Going on a Raw Vegan Diet Is Not All It's Cooked Up to Be

Dominique Boubion
Smoothie Time!

I've walked away from this week with two important lessons: Sometimes when you feel hungry and desire a 12oz steak and potatoes, a plum and some water will probably suffice. The second: Don't believe everything you read, or at the very least don't commit to three weeks of raw dieting before fully researching.

My regular, non-raw vegan diet consists primarily of carbs, meat and beer. It's not something that I'm proud of, and I actually didn't realize it until I broke it down meal by meal. I like to think of myself as a healthy person because I one time I got a salad instead of french fries as my side. But then all of a sudden, it's been weeks since a piece of fruit has entered my system.

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Really, Folks: A Raw Vegan Diet Ain't So Bad

Dominique Boubion
Good enough to gorge on

There is one thing that a person on any kind of diet will advise, and that is to be prepared. When hunger strikes, rash decisions are made.

I recently decided to try a new diet for three weeks after a little research. I learned that eating a raw vegan diet -- a diet consisting of mostly, if not exclusively, raw plant products -- could be the key to optimal health and longevity. Eating vegetables is good for you, yeah, but the concept behind the diet is that once foods are cooked past 118 degrees, their nutrients and enzymes begin to break down, reducing the benefits from the food eaten, and toxins begin to form. In a meta-analysis of existing scientific studies, Cornell Professor Emeritus T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Thomas M. Campbell II found that a plant-based diet could even reverse heart disease and certain cancers, among other things.

In other words, the farmers market is the fountain of youth. All that is required is a little self-discipline.

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